Microsoft reports modest diversity gains, boosted by LinkedIn workforce and hiring initiatives
Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft chief people officer

Microsoft says it’s seeing small but across-the-board increases in the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities working at the company, including those in technical and leadership roles, in the latest annual update on the Redmond tech giant’s efforts to diversify its workforce.

Women now represent 27.3 percent of Microsoft’s employee base, according to new numbers released Tuesday afternoon by Kathleen Hogan, the company’s chief people officer. That number is up from 25.8 percent last year, but a substantial portion of that increase is due to the inclusion of LinkedIn’s workforce following Microsoft’s acquisition of the business social network.

Excluding the LinkedIn employees, Microsoft’s percentage of women employees rose to 25.9 percent, up just 0.1 percent from last year. However, Microsoft says the increase would actually be larger, about 0.9 percent, excluding the numbers from the smartphone manufacturing operations that the company shut down, where women represented a higher percentage of the workforce.

The number of African American/Black employees at the company rose to 4 percent from 3.7 percent previously, and Hispanic/Latino employees increased to 5.9 percent from 5.5 percent.

“We are encouraged to see progress both in terms of the all-up representation of women and minorities, as well as technical and leadership roles, and we’re very committed to continuing this journey to see sustained progress in the future,” Hogan said in an interview with GeekWire.

In a post about the data, Hogan cited five “pillars” of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including expanding its pipeline of talent through a variety of programs, looking beyond its traditional recruiting practices, empowering and retaining existing employees, and other efforts.

Microsoft Graphic. Click for full stats.

“Building a diverse culture is a critical element to spark innovation and allow unique perspectives and insights to surface,” Hogan writes. “Focusing on a more inclusive design process enables us to build products for a broader set of customers, and appeal to their unique needs.”

This is Microsoft’s third annual report on its diversity numbers, part of a broader effort across the primarily white, male tech industry to build teams that are more inclusive.

Microsoft also reported these numbers today about women and minorities in technical and leadership roles.

  • The percentage of women in technical roles increased from 17.5% to 19.0%;
  • The percentage of women in leadership positions at the company increased from 17.9% to 19.1%;
  • The percentage of African American/Black employees in technical roles increased from 2.4% to 2.7%;
  • The percentage of African American/Black employees in leadership roles increased from 2.1% to 2.2%;
  • The percentage of Hispanic/Latinx employees in technical roles increased from 4.0% to 4.3%;
  • The percentage of Hispanic/Latinx employees in leadership roles increased from 4.0% to 4.3%.
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